The CO-ACT project aims to create citizen dynamic leading to propose public policy to encourage co-responsibility for the well-being of all today and tomorrow. Originally designed as a bottom-up approach of citizens who participated at the SPIRAL approach toward politics, it is evolving into a broader societal dialogue, as a part of a direct democracy paradigm at the European level, or even beyond.This implies a process of experimentation and learning of the best methods to ensure the quality of expressions and dialogue, the legitimacy and relevance of the proposals emerging. This page presents the history of the project and is updated as it moves forward.
- 1- Launch phase of the project (First 3 trimesters of 2015)
- 2- Collection phase before returning the synthesis to the citizens (october 2015-March 18, 2016)
- 3- Collection phase and dialogue with feedbacks on the synthesis (18th March -29 September 2016)
- 4- Synthesis phase of the operational frameworks (29 September to 5 November 2016 and after)
- 5- First conclusions
1- Launch phase of the project (First 3 trimesters of 2015)
- 1st march 2015: The CO-ACT project is presented for a second time to the Program of the European Union called " Europe for citizens"
- May-June 2015: The project is selected in third position of the 20 co-funded projects. Together receives notification in order to initiate the project.
- 19-23 August 2015: Secretariats of Together International and Together France meet in Odemira to prepare the launch of the project. Several clarifications are provided to enhance the relevance of the project, including: 1) The enlargement of citizens invited to participate in the project to any actions sharing co-responsibility values for the well-being of all, beyond SPIRAL 2) Development of synthesis following the method developed with SPIRAL ( classificaion built from content analysis of the proposals emerging); 3) Using the Delphi method, which consists in returning the synthesis to the citizens for them to complete it; 4) The idea of establishing a dialogue with policy makers from the early synthesis until the final meeting in Braine l'Alleud.
- 28 and 29 September 2015: Project launch meeting with leading representatives of the SPIRAL community widened and other similar initiatives (eco-villages,transition movement, Agenda 21, LEADER approach, etc.)and the Council of Alliances. The project's methodology is analyzed and clarified by taking the democratic co-construction principles developed with SPIRAL. A pedagogical kit is created and the collection phase is initiated with the possibility to extend it at least until the final meeting in Braine l'Alleud and maybe even afterwards.
2- Collection phase before returning the synthesis to the citizens (october 2015-March 18, 2016)
- October 1st 2015: Starting of the proposal phase by citizens : thirty groups divided into 5 countries working on that process.
- December 6,2015 : Meeting of the secretariats of Together International and Together France in Paris and initiation of the phase of construction of the synthesis .
- December 17, 2015: A first synthesis elaborated by the secretariat of Together International sent to the Council of Alliance as an excel database ranking all citizens responses and one Word file with the classification into categories and sub-categories.
- January 7, 2016: Sending of a new version more elaborate , with this time a synthesis for each category or sub-category.
- January 19, 2016: A second classification is proposed by the secretariat of Together France in partnership with a group of students from the University of Bordeaux.
- February 4,5 and 6, 2016 : Meeting of the Council of Alliance and thematic coordinators in Bordeaux: critical analysis of synthesis, including the too linear character ("shopping list") highlighting the need for a more systemic approach. Decision is set on March 15th as deadline to finalize the synthesis to a sufficient level in order to start the Delphi method. They also decided to initiate the political dialogue, first at the local level. Details of meetings of thematic sub-networks: the number of meetings being reduced to 4, it will allow the realisation of a political dialogue meeting on the results of CO-ACT, which will be hold in Charleroi after the 4 thematic meetings.
- February and early March 2016: The database of citizens proposals is edited with two classifications proposed and by distinguishing 4 levels in each category : 1) Wishes; 2) Measures to achieve these wishes; 3) Co-responsibiity levers to achieve these and make them effective; 4) Means to implement to mobilize the levers.
- March 18, 2016: The new version of the synthesis is finalized and sent to all partners. The collection phase following the Delphi method can start with a proposal of method.
3- Collection phase and dialogue with feedbacks on the synthesis (18th March -29 September 2016)
- March 24, 2016: first test of political dialogue on the synthesis with locally elected representatives in Portugal. The meeting provided a crucial insight on the role of each of the three directions of the process:
- Continuation of the collection with the citizens, this time with the synthesis, allowing an enrichment at the condition that it finds a systemic form (needs confirmed by the elected representatives).
- Dialogue with politicians with a dual role: first as citizens participating as any other citizen to the co-constuction of proposals, and second as experts on publics policies that can help in the development of operational frameworks on different levels (local, regional, national, european and even global)to implement the proposals of citizens.
- Mobilization of civil society actors, necessary complement to make the operational frameworks effective by helping their development. It is the role of the 4 thematic meetings.
Below, the description of each of the three current processes (which will be completed as the project evolves)
Collect of the citizens proposals with the return of synthesis (Delphi method)
- 4 to 9 April 2016: First test of return of synthesis following the Delphi method as a part of a seminar dealing with the methods of dialogue linking the SPIRAL approach and the Reflect Action approach. This additional seminar was proposed by Indirah Osumba (a SPIRAL dynamisor in Belgium during the project launch meeting in September 2015) and enabled us to make the qualitative leap expected of a linear synthesis to a systemic synthesis. Read more
- Ongoing: development of a systemic release of the synthesis based on the results of April's seminar
Following the meeting on 24th March, a new political dialogue meeting is planned with a wider group of elected representatives in Portugal. It will be organized as soon as the synthesis in its systemic form will be available. Other political dialogue meetings will be held in different countries. To be completed
Mobilizing of civil society actors (4 thematic meetings)
The process of synthesis of proposals by citizens and the dialogue on this synthesis give a new meaning to the 4 thematic meetings. They will be conducted as 4 successive stages in the construction of a reference model for a progress towards coresponsibility for the well-being of all, and operational politic frameworks that result in:
- The 1st meeting on 20 and 21 May 2016 in Gloucester (UK) will focus on how to build a co-responsible business model for the well-being of all today and tomorrow.
- The 2nd meeting in June in Odemira (Southern Portugal) will focus on how to ensure, by the co-reponsibility, basic needs for the well-being of all today and tomorrow (healthy food, health, basic consumer product) with a minimum impact on the environment.
- The 3rd meeting on 22 and 23 June in Viana do Castelo (North Portugal)will focus on how to ensure a co-responsible organization of the territory for the well-being of all today and tomorrow.
- The 4th meeting in early September in Chieri will focus on how to ensure a collaborative and co-responsible management of common property for the well-being of all today and tomorrow.
4- Synthesis phase of the operational frameworks (29 September to 5 November 2016 and after)
This one will start with the meeting in Charleroi on 29 and 30 September 2016 and will mainly focus on the Third Meeting of Co-responsibility Territories in Braine-l'Alleud from 2 to 5 November 2016. It consists in synthesizing the operational frameworks arising from the citizens proposals and developed through the thematic meetings and from the dialogue with policy makers.
5- First conclusions
The CO-ACT project brings many lessons on howto promote political dialogue between citizens and decision makers. Learn more.